Digest: Mergers, monopolies, thieves, imposters, and rats

Bad seed: A proposed merger between Monsanto (the world's largest seed company) and the nation's largest cottonseed seller could mean bad news for organic cotton growers, says the Center for Food Safety, which is seeking to block the deal. Wired News

Monopoly's not just a game: Same merger threatens the livelihood of black and other small farmers in cotton states by reducing necessary competition. The Clarion-Ledger (Mississippi)

Better safe than sorry: Fearing the same fallout from recent GM rice contamination that damaged the U.S. rice industry, India's commerce ministry will ask the country's Genetic Engineering Approval Committee not to approve GM field trials of basmati rice. The Financial Express (India)

Contract woes: Study shows contracts signed between meat packers and farmers significantly reduce what farmers make — and may encourage these farmers to raise more animals than they would otherwise. One featured farmer lost $1 million on his deal. The Des Moines Register

Black-market Posilac: Trying to crack down on the hormone-stealing syndicate. The Washington Post (via AP)

Vote with your votes: With fishy impostors appearing on menus and in supermarket cases everywhere, trying to eat fish responsibly may not be enough, warns an environmental economist. AlterNet

Take your child to school lunch day: A Gristmill guest blog by Kate Adamick, former director of the SchoolFood Plus Initiative in New York City, tells parents what to look out for in their kids' cafeterias, but not so much what to do with the resulting outrage. Gristmill

A place to start: The folks in southeastern Minnesota want organic and locally-grown food in hospital cafeterias, nursing homes, and schools. Winona Daily News (Minnesota)

Sustainable food, sustainable communities: The new Dogwood Deli provides opportunities for both local farmers and recovering drug addicts. The Baltimore Sun

Yuck Brands?: Well-fed rats were filmed scurrying around a Taco Bell's franchise in New York. Scotsman (via Reuters)

Alert, alert!: Soon you'll know exactly how much caffeine is in your Classic Coke. (Thanks, Jack!) CBC News (Canada)

Major inconvenience: Meanwhile, students in Denver won't continue to have easy access to energy drinks. Supposedly they aren't meant for those under 18 anyway. Just like cigarettes and beer. Albuquerque Journal (via AP)

Just say no... to "stuff": Join the Compact to buy nothing new, other than essentials. Who knows, you might find you have enough extra cash to buy organic food. The New York Times*

Not a "Sex in the City" episode: For the first time in two centuries, a beaver is living in New York City. The New York Times*

*Free registration required.

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